Getting in and around Buenos Aires isn’t difficult to figure out, especially if you’re prepared to taxi your way throughout the trip. It’s inexpensive and will get you anywhere.
But if you’re on a budget, there are subways and buses that are just as useful. Here’s a quick breakdown:
P.S. – If you’re a resident of EU, EEA, New Zealand, Japan and USA, you can stay in Argentina for up to 90 days, visa-free. Argentina requires a “reciprocity fee” if you’re Australian ($100/one year) or Canadian ($93/one month).
GETTING TO BUENOS AIRES:
You’ll most likely be landing in Ezeiza International Airport – EZE (or Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini / Minister Pistarini International Airport), which is located in Gran Buenos Aires approximately 30-45 minutes away from downtown by car. Most major cities in North and South America have flights to EZE. If you’re already in Argentina, you can find daily flights from EZE to Mendoza and Córdoba.
If you’re traveling to and from Argentina’s neighboring countries such as Brazil, Chile, Paraguay or Uruguay, or if you’re flying within Argentina (ie: Iguazu Falls,) then you’ll be using Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport conveniently located in downtown near Palermo neighborhood.
If you’re keen on a more customized experience, then ordering a private car might be more expensive but the driver will speak English and you can book online with John Boyle.
Cost: airport to city: USD $70/$1127 pesos – per car.
Traveling via bus in Argentina is convenient since the network is massive and excellent. From Retiro bus station has the core of all the main lines, extending through the entire country. You can either buy tickets online or you can buy them at Retiro bus station. If you want to stay comfortable in the train, buy the expensive tickets. The cheaper they are, the less comfortable the seats are.
These are the different bus classes: Servicio Común, which are seats that do not recline. Cama have seats that recline into beds. You’ll see many other names, but just ask the ticket offices.
You don’t need to reserve your seats ahead of time, except for holiday breaks during summers and winters.
The travel times to and from Buenos Aires via bus are as follow:
- Mendoza: 12-14 hours
- Córdoba: 9 hours
- Bariloche: 22 hours
- Iguazú: 20 hours
- Rosario: 4 hours
- Santiago de Chile: 20 hours
We love that upgrading to first class only costs USD $10/36 pesos, you’ll be prepped with VIP access in lounge and a glass of champagne.
Cost: approximately USD $11/98 pesos. If you’re coming in from Brazil or Uruguay, driving to Argentina is a popular option. There are four main freeways that crosses through Buenos Aires.
The train system in Buenos Aires is not too big, so not as useful for travelers since most people opt for buses though they’re pricier. If you’re considering the train, here are four main stations: Retiro – Córdoba (overnight, 25 pesos/tourist class), Retiro – Tucumán (overnight, 35 pesos/tourist class), Federico Lacrosse – Posadas (54 stops and taking more than 30 hours).
FROM EZE TO DOWNTOWN:
The is the easiest and best way to get into town! You can find taxi stands at the airport, on either side of the exit after baggage claim. These taxi companies will sometimes offer 20% discount for your return trip back to the airport. Hang on to that coupon for savings!
Do not try to hail a taxi on your own at the airport, especially if it’s your first time in Buenos Aires. If you do so, make sure you speak Spanish and try to negotiate the price.
Cost: approximately USD $37/600 pesos (excluding toll fees.)
Look for Manuel Tienda León which runs every 30 minutes (except for weekends with longer gaps in between.) You’ll find the kiosk near customs and right before entering arrival hall after baggage claim. The receptionist may help you on whether there’s a bus which stops at your hotel or where you should head to. There are also transfers from EZE airport to and from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport. Best part? These shuttles have Wi-Fi (priorities!)
From the bus Retiro station in the city, you can ask for a small van to take you to an exact address for an additional USD $1.70/ 15 pesos.
Cost: approximately USD $14.50/130 pesos.
If you’re not familiar with Buenos Aires, this option is not recommended. Although it’s the most cost-effective way to get into the city from the airport.
Tip: You’ll find buses near Terminal B airport arrival area. It’ll take 2 hours to reach downtown. A SUBE CARD (works for Buenos Aires’s buses, subways, and light rail) will work for more than one traveler at once. You can buy these cars at the airport in the terminal, but check here for more locations to buy your SUBE CARD.
Try to avoid driving in Buenos Aires since traffic may be a bit more chaotic than what you’re used to. But most major car rental companies have reception desks at the airport.
GETTING AROUND BUENOS AIRES:
Walking is easy in Buenos Aires since the streets are lined up in grids similar to those in NYC, also Buenos Aires is a beautiful city which makes walking a lovely experience. Subway system is also convenient but can be crowded during rush hours. Taxis are cheap and a fantastic option if you’re tired of traveling on foot. Taxis in Buenos Aires are inexpensive but make sure the drivers turn on the meter before your ride starts.
You can also call these 24-hour cab companies to reserve ahead of time:
- Onda Verde – 4867-0000
- Premium – 4374-6666 or 5238-0000
- Radio Taxi Siglo – 4633-4000
- New Taxi – 4551-1110
Using taxis as private tours:
Buenos Aires Taxis is a great option for travelers who want a privately guided tour that’s safe and affordable. You can choose city tours, tango dinners or airport pickups. Best part about this is that you can book online, and it’s a lot better than hassling with cabs on the streets.
Buses here are called colectivos. Here’s how and where you can buy tickets: you can purchase individual tickets on the bus via a coin-only machine. Or you can get a SUBE card, it’s refillable and costs USD $3/30 pesos. You can get them at various stores, kiosks throughout the city. All rides cost USD $0.64/5.75 pesos each.
To have a handy bus schedule, buy a Guía “T” which comes with maps and bus routes. If you speak Spanish, you can call “131” which is free for you to ask customer service which bus to take. You can find these at kiosks or subway stations. Or visit this website to know where to go if you have Wi-Fi.
For USD $0.28/2.50 pesos, you can access limited transfers within Buenos Aires subte, which is short for “tren subterráneo.” It goes from 5 am to 10 pm with Sundays starting at 8 am.
If you plan on riding the subte more than once, then we recommend you buy reusable tickets to add credit throughout your stay.
Lines A, E & H connect downtown area to main bus and train stations.
Just like driving, riding bikes in Buenos Aires can be a chaotic and stressful situation due to its heavy and congested traffic. Although cycling in the city isn’t recommended, if you do so, beware that cars will suddenly cut in front of you. Stick to the left lane on one-way streets and to prevent robbery, be sure to ride in popular areas and stay away from remote alleys.